Beer distributor taps security company
Walker Capital bankrolls Comtronics
By Chris Anderson
JACKSON, Mich. - Comtronics, a 41-year-old communications company that started a security division in 1970, was sold in January to Walker Capital Corp., a holding company formed specifically to complete the acquisition.
Walker Capital, headed by James F. Walker, has a war chest funded from the proceeds of the sale six years ago of Walker’s $350 million convenience store distribution company. Walker currently owns Silver Foam Distributing, a beer and wine distributor.
“We want to acquire other alarm companies and the infusion of capital this deal gives us will allow us to do that.” said John A. Campau, president of Comtronics.
Under the terms of the deal, John Campau and his father, Philip F. Campau, Sr., will stay with the company and manage Comtronics as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walker Capital.
The relationship between Comtronics and Silver Foam is unique in the industry in that route sales drivers deliver basic information to store owners about the security company’s services.
“It’s like having 25 sales people out in the field for you every day,” said John Campau. “We’ve seen results from those efforts already.” As a result, Comtronics will soon expand its employment by five to 45 people.
Campau noted that the route drivers for Silver Foam do not sell the security systems, but act more as lead generators. Once store owners become interested in learning more about getting a security system for their stores, the lead is passed on to a Comtronics employee who makes a sales call and proposal.
Comtronics, which operates its own central station, has a split of about 60 percent residential and 40 percent commercial accounts. But the company will be focusing more on the commercial side in the coming months, Campau said.
For Walker, the entrance to the security business was made both for opportunity and image, “We are in what you could call a ‘bad boy’ industry,” said Walker. “Having a security company allows us to provide a service that is very beneficial to the community in a business that is steadily growing.”
Comtronics currently has offices here and in both Ann Arbor and Battle Creek, Mich. Additional offices are in the works for other cities in Michigan. Yet, Comtronics will look in time to have offices outside the state. “I don’t like to be small and we are in an excellent position,” said Walker. “We have the resources to grow both on our own, and through acquisitions.”
Reprinted with permission from Security Systems News
Copyright April 1999